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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

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Teixeira: Dems Must Navigate the Immigration Paradox

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

 

Here are three things we know about the American public and immigration.

1. The American public is becoming more favorable, not less favorable, toward immigration. In fact,  the public is not only more favorable but it is now at historically high levels of favorability toward immigration and immigrants. From a recent article by Derek Thompson:

·         The share of Americans calling for lower levels of immigration has fallen from a high of 65 percent in the mid-1990s to just 35 percent, near its record low.
·         A 2017 Gallup poll found that fears that immigrants bring crime, take jobs from native-born families, or damage the budget and overall economy are all at all-time lows.
·         In the same poll, the percentage of Americans saying immigrants “mostly help” the economy reached its highest point since Gallup began asking the question in 1993.
·         A Pew Research poll asking if immigrants “strengthen [the] country with their hard work and talents” similarly found affirmative responses at an all-time high.

Pretty much all relevant polling data say the same thing. Here are a couple charts from the two leading academic surveys, the General Social Survey and the American National Election Study:

 

Moreover, as the polling data also show very consistently, the public is very supportive of the DREAMers and opposed to building a wall on the border with Mexico.

2. The places with the most immigration tend to be the ones least supportive of Trump and a hard line on immigration. Conversely, of course, if the exposure to immigrants is limited, that tends to correlate with high support for Trump and being hostile to immigration. This chart from Ron Brownstein sums up the situation well:

 

And yet…despite a public that’s trending favorable toward immigrants, especially in areas where they are common, we have the third thing we know about the public and immigration:

3. Anti-immigrant feelings now have more political salience than they have had a very long time and that is hurting the Democrats. It is clearly the case that for an important minority of–primarily white noncollege–voters, they feel intensely enough about this issue to respond positively to anti-immigrant messages and candidates. Trump would not be President if this were not true. And the GOP hopes they can continue to use this issue to keep these voters away from the Democratic party, a strategy that has worked to perfection in Rustbelt and other declining areas of the country.

Can the Democrats resolve this immigration paradox so they do not suffer politically for being pro-immigrant in country that is increasingly pro-immigrant? We shall see. But it would appear they need to think carefully about how to reach voters outside of blue America who do not start with the presumption that immigration is beneficial. Otherwise,the immigration paradox is likely to continue, and continue to hurt the Democrats.


Is Targeting 100 House Seats Realistic for Dems?

Josh Vorhees reviews Democratic strategy to win House of Reps seats in his slate.com post, “Democrats Say They Are Now Targeting 101 House Seats. Wait, Really?: As the title suggests, he has some doubts, including,

Democrats have set their sights on taking 101 House seats from Republicans.
Wait, what now? Via NBC News:

At House Democrats’ annual conference Thursday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), is expected to tell colleagues the committee is expanding the battleground to include 101 Republicans — the largest in a decade, a Democratic source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Now, a point of clarification: I checked with the DCCC, the official campaign arm of House Democrats, and they confirmed that their list of battleground targets really does run 101 races long—though three of the 19 open seats on that list are currently held by Democrats. But while that 98 figure doesn’t make for quite as strong of a shock-and-awe more-than-a-hundred PR strategy, in reality, there’s not all that much difference between the two figures. Both can safely be described as a freaking lot.

Vorhees’s concern is understandable. That’s a dramatic increase from the two-dozen seats Trump’s -10 underwater (but recently improved) approval numbers indicate are a realistic goal for Dems, according to some political pundits. Vorhees adds:

On Thursday, the Cook Political Report moved a whopping 21 races in the direction of Democrats. And yet even after that sizable shift, it’s hard to count to 98. Cook currently considers 343 of the 435 House seats either solidly Democrat (175) or solidly Republican (168). And of the remaining 92 races thought to either be competitive or have the potential to become competitive before November, 19 of them are currently held by Democrats. Put another way, Democrats are targeting dozens of seats that Cook and other nonpartisan experts think will stay red—some deep red—come Election Day 2018.

…According to the DCCC, their internal, district-level polling is one reason for the confidence. They say Trump is underwater in more than 60 districts he won in 2016. The DCCC also points to strong fundraising by individual candidates and national Democratic groups, which together they hope will offset some of the GOP’s traditional advantage when it comes to outside money (see: Brothers, Koch).

Despite the encouraging numbers, Vorhees sees “some element of posturing” in the DCCC strategy and he concludes, “Every dollar they spend trying to flip that 60th seat—let alone the 98th one—is a buck that they won’t have to invest in those races far more likely to decide control of the House for the next two years. It may not be Hillary can win Texas! but it feels hauntingly close to It’s cool, Michigan’s in the bag.”

It may be, however, that underinvesting in winnable districts with substantial numbers of white working-class voters who are fed up with Trump is the greater danger. Dems have some useful numbers  to work with in identifying competitive districts and Democratic fund-raising is going well.

Overconfidence and spreading resources too thin can be a problem. But It would also be a shame if excessive caution prevented Democrats from winning an additional ten or more seats. Allocating available resources optimally to numerous campaigns is a tricky challenge in any election, especially the 2018 midterms, which have so far produced a bumper crop of Democratic candidates nation-wide. Better polling in congressional districs would be a big help.


Waldman: Dems Finally Play Offense

Some instructive comments from Paul Waldman’s Plum Line post, “Republicans have rigged the system for years. Democrats are finally fighting back“:

One of the most important differences between the two parties today is that Republicans never stop asking how they can change the rules to benefit themselves. Democrats, on the other hand, are almost always on the defensive, trying to stop what Republicans are doing (with mixed success), but often getting bowled over by Republicans who have thought more about how to go about rigging the system and have more resources at their disposal.

The recent history of these efforts starts a little under a decade ago, when Republicans realized that if they could win victories in the 2010 elections, they’d control redistricting after the census. Democrats weren’t paying nearly enough attention to state elections, and in that 2010 wave, the GOP took control of multiple state legislatures. With their control of redistricting, they redrew maps across the country, and as a result, in the 2012 House elections, Democratic candidates won over a million more votes than Republican candidates, but Republicans controlled the chamber by a 33-seat margin (you can read more about that here).

Yes, Democrats have gerrrymandered on occasion, as well, notes Waldman, “but they haven’t waged the kind of organized and sustained assault on institutions that Republicans have.” He quotes Carolyn Fiddler, a state politics expert at Daily Kos, who adds that “Democratic donors are definitely stepping up and investing in state-level politics this cycle in ways I’ve never seen.”

Waldman cites the work of “new groups on the left such as Indivisible and Run For Something that are channeling so much activist energy are putting a large portion of their attention on state and local elections.” Further,

And in a few places, Democrats have actually gone on the offensive, passing automatic voter registration that would render some Republican vote suppression efforts moot. Voters in Florida will have a ballot measure in November to end the state’s felon disenfranchisement law, which leaves 1.5 million Floridians who have served their time without the right to vote.

However, Waldman concludes that “it’s still the case that Republicans are on the offensive while Democrats mostly play defense, trying to stop Republicans from rigging the system.”

The Republicans haven’t paid much of a price for their voter suppression, stonewalling in congress and gerrymandering projects, despite all that has been said about it in the media. It appears that they correctly calculated that voters who would be disgusted by their obstruction of democracy are already against them, while the small percentage who are swing voters don’t seem to care much about it.

Deciding the allocation of resources to be invested in defensive and offensive strategy is always a tough call. But it’s encouraging that Democrats are now investing more resources into the latter, a needed first step to becomming a more pro-active party.


Teixeira: Trump’s State Approval Ratings Provide The Key to 2018

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

There is nothing more important than the overall political environment for the magnitude of Democratic gains in 2018. The poorer that environment is for Republicans, the better the Democrats will do in any given race with any given candidate. And there is nothing more important to that environment than President Trump’s approval ratings which, as those who pay at least some attention to politics know, have generally been dismal at the national level.

But the 2018 races are run not nationally but in the individual states, so it is important to have a sense of how Trump is viewed in individual states to assess Democratic prospects. That is why the state approval ratings just released by Gallup are so useful, because they provide an approval rating for Trump in all 50 states. (The ratings are average ratings from 2017; Trump’s overall approval rating today appear to be slightly higher–a point or two–than its 2017 average, so the Gallup data cited here may be slightly underestimating his current state approval ratings).

The state ratings are particularly interesting in light of where the real battles of 2018 are likely to be fought. As Philip Bump has noted, 64 competitive House seats held by Republicans are in states where Trump’s approval rating is under 50 percent; 60 of these seats are in states where his rating is below 45 percent and 34 are in states where his rating dips below 40 percent.

One way to get a sense of just how much the political environment in a given state has shifted since Trump’s election is to compare Trump’s margin in 2016 with his net approval rating (approval minus disapproval) from the Gallup data. The results are rather striking when we look at states with key races.

The states with the largest number of competitive House seats held by Republicans are: California (8); Pennsylvania (6); New York (5); New Jersey (4); Virginia (4); Illinois (4) and Ohio (4). Trump’s average approval rating in these states is 36 percent (low of 29 percent in California and high of 45 percent in Ohio). And on average Trump’s net approval rating in these states is 12 points worse than the margin he attained in these states in the 2016 election. For example, Trump carried Ohio by 8 points in 2016; his net approval rating in 2017 was -5. Interestingly, the only state where the shift against Trump was not in double digits was California. But here his margin in 2016 was already -30, so he slipped to “only” -36 in net approval rating.

Drilling down a little bit farther, the same patterns can be found in most states with competitive Senate, governor’s and/or state legislature elections. In Arizona, where Democrats are targeting Jeff Flake’s open Senate, as well as seeking to make big gains in the state House and Senate, Trump’s net approval is now -12, a 16 point shift compared to his 2016 margin. In Florida, where the Democrats are defending a Senate seat and targeting Republican governor Rick Scott and the state Senate, Trump is also at -12, 13 points worse than his 2016 showing. In Iowa, where the Democrats are after the governorship and serious gains in the state House and Senate, Trump’s net approval is -9, 18 points worse than his victory margin in the state in 2016. In Nevada, where Democrats have good chances to flip Dean Heller’s Senate seat and the governor’s mansion, Trump is at -11, 13 points worse than 2016. Even in North Dakota and West Virginia, two states with Democratic-held Senate seats where Trump has (in relative terms) sky-high net approval ratings of 18 and 26 points, respectively, these ratings still trail Trump’s 2016 election margins by 16 points.

Most astonishingly, in Texas where the Democrats are after three House seats and have an outside shot at Ted Cruz’ Senate seat, Trump’s net approval is at -15, a stunning 24 point decline from Trump’s victory margin in 2016. But a word of caution here. Gallup’s net approval ratings are among all adults, a group that tends to be pro-Democratic relative to the likely or actual voting pool and this difference, as Harry Enten has pointed out, is particularly large in Texas. So don’t break out the champagne toasts for blue Texas quite yet.

Still, all in all, favorable data for Democratic prospects in the most important states in 2018. I shall have more to say in the future about the demographics of specific states and Congressional Districts and how this may play into the political trends summarized in this piece


Judis: Why Dems Must Tread Carefully on Immigration Policy

At The American Prospect Long Form, John Judis has an article, “The Two Sides of Immigration Policy: We need to legalize the undocumented already here, but open borders will mean lower wages for American workers,” which merits a thoughtful read by Democrats.  Judis, author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics, writes:

Democrats and liberals have rightly rejected Trump’s words and deeds. And they have reasserted the need to find an eventual path to citizenship for the 12 million [undocumented immigranrs]. But in responding to Trump’s xenophobia, many have gone to the opposite extreme and denied, in effect, that a problem really exists. They have consistently downplayed or denied that there is any urgent need to stanch the flow of unauthorized immigration. The party’s 2016 platform plank on immigration gave short shrift to the problem of illegal immigration, merely calling for law enforcement that is “humane and consistent with our values.”

…Democrats believe, of course, that in downplaying illegal immigration and insisting that immigration benefits everyone, they are standing up for their own constituents. They think that working-class Americans who backed Trump on this issue failed to understand their own interests. But Democrats are wrong in this case. While many American businesses and the well-to-do have clearly benefited from the massive influx of unskilled immigrants, many middle- and working-class Americans, including such key Democratic constituents as African Americans, have not.

Judis goes on to present evidence that, while Latino voters favor Democrats, their views on illegal immigration reform are not far different from American voters in general. He notes,

…pluralities or majorities of Hispanics are leery of illegal immigration, and want it restricted. They look with disfavor on the massive immigration of unskilled workers. In a 2013 Gallup poll, 74 percent of Hispanics favor and only 24 percent oppose “tightening security at U.S. borders,” and 65 percent favor and only 34 percent oppose “requiring business owners to check the immigration status of workers they hire.”

Reviewing some recent polling data, Judis concludes “In sum, the Democratic stance on these issues is not only unpopular with most voters, but with many Hispanics as well. Except as a response to Trump’s xenophobia, the Democrats’ response makes no political sense, and is not benefiting their own working-class constituents.”

In his NYT op-ed, “Trump Has Got Democrats Right Where He Wants Them,” Thomas B. Edsall writes, “For a Democratic Party whose electoral strength depends on Hispanic support (64 percent of Latinos identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party in 2016) preventing the deportation of the Dreamers and providing them with legal status has become a matter of political necessity.” Edsall also notes, however, that “The greatest unknown is how immigration reform will influence the voting behavior of the white working class.”

Noting the Democratic belief that “large-scale immigration of unskilled workers will help the Democrats politically and hurt the Republicans,” Judis argues that “Hispanics may not prove to be a dependable Democratic constituency,” as they “move up the economic ladders.” Further, “Republican candidates for governor in Texas and the Senate in North Carolina have almost broken even among Hispanic voters.”

Judis argues that “the continual surge of low-skilled immigrants into the United States will contribute to an impoverished underclass that holds down wages and creates welfare costs for small towns and states.” He notes that  “The existence of that underclass has helped fuel bitter cultural-economic conflicts that have riven America over the last 30 years. It undercuts any promise of an American social democracy or extension of New Deal liberalism…”

Democrats have to tread a policy that rejects both nativism and open borders, while protecting the Dreamers and demonstrating genuine concern for secure borders and decent wages for all workers. As Judis concludes,

What, then, can the Democratic Party do? On the one hand, it is reasonable to push for a path to citizenship, and especially to prevent the cruel deportation of immigrants who were brought here illegally as children and often literally have no home country to return to. It’s also important to defend the labor rights of all residents of the United States, even those without papers, and to resist wholesale raids. But Democrats make both a policy mistake and a political one when they become cheerleaders for illegal immigration and for expanded immigration in general, while denying the plain fact that in many cases immigrants do indeed lower the wages of local workers. Building a wall is bad policy, but so is ignoring the plain realities.

It’s a narrow path, which will require nuanced policies to insure fairness for both immigrants and American workers. Republicans will miss no opportunity to distort Democratic immigration policies as extravagant indulgences that hurt American workers. To win in 2018, as well as 2020, Democrats will have to demonstrate that their party provides the best hope for American workers, as well as immigrants.


Sen. Sanders Brings the SOTU Critique

While Rep. Joe Kennedy brought the vision, Sen. Sanders brought the critique following Trump’s State of the Union address. The text follows (via In These Times):

Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, I want to take a few minutes of your time to respond to President Trump’s State of the Union speech. But I want to do more than just that. I want to talk to you about the major crises facing our country that, regrettably, President Trump chose not to discuss. I want to talk to you about the lies that he told during his campaign and the promises he made to working people which he did not keep.

Finally, I want to offer a vision of where we should go as a nation which is far different than the divisiveness, dishonesty, and racism coming from the Trump Administration over the past year.

President Trump talked tonight about the strength of our economy. Well, he’s right. Official unemployment today is 4.1 percent which is the lowest it has been in years and the stock market in recent months has soared. That’s the good news.

But what President Trump failed to mention is that his first year in office marked the lowest level of job creation since 2010. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 254,000 fewer jobs were created in Trump’s first 11 months in office than were created in the 11 months before he entered office.

Further, when we talk about the economy, what’s most important is to understand what is happening to the average worker. And here’s the story that Trump failed to mention tonight.

Over the last year, after adjusting for inflation, the average worker in America saw a wage increase of, are you ready for this, 4 cents an hour, or 0.17%. Or, to put it in a different way, that worker received a raise of a little more than $1.60 a week. And, as is often the case, that tiny wage increase disappeared as a result of soaring health care costs.

Meanwhile, at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the rich continue to get much richer while millions of American workers are working two or three jobs just to keep their heads above water. Since March of last year, the three richest people in America saw their wealth increase by more than $68 billion. Three people. A $68 billion increase in wealth. Meanwhile, the average worker saw an increase of 4 cents an hour.

Tonight, Donald Trump touted the bonuses he claims workers received because of his so-called “tax reform” bill. What he forgot to mention is that only 2% of Americans report receiving a raise or a bonus because of this tax bill.


The Vision: Rep. Joe Kennedy’s Democratic Response to the SOTU

The text of Rep. Joe Kennedy III’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address follows:

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is a privilege to join you tonight.

We are here in Fall River, Massachusetts – a proud American city, built by immigrants.

From textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things.

The students with us this evening in the autoshop at Diman Regional Technical School carry on that rich legacy.

Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city.

It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.

This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.

We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward.

A government that struggles to keep itself open.

Russia knee-deep in our democracy.

An all-out war on environmental protection.

A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.

Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.

Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations. Targeting our safest, sacred places.

And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are.

It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics.

But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.

For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure.

By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size.

Not to mention, the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers.

Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count. In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.

That is the American promise.

But today that promise is being broken. By an Administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.


Win Working-Class Voters with State Level Consumer Protection

The following article by Marc Dann, former Attorney General of the State of Ohio, is cross-posted from Working-Class Perspectives:

Donald Trump’s election, made possible in part by his ability to capture the hearts, minds, aspirations, and votes of working-class men and women, has caused confusion and consternation among Democratic Party leaders. Stunned by the outcome, the Party has spent the last year searching for new messages that could lure this critically important constituency back into the fold. So far, that search has been unsuccessful.

However, as Democratic Party factions bicker, Trump himself may be handing them the issue they can use to end his presidency—and it doesn’t involve porn stars, Russians, racism, or tax cuts for the rich, none of which seem to matter much to the president’s supporters.

No, the Trumpites won’t turn away from him because of the outrageous things he says, or even the possibly illegal things he’s done. But they might abandon him when they finally realize that he’s betrayed them by gutting the regulatory framework that really made America great for the working class. Trump’s crusade to kill every rule and law he can get his hands on could be the thing that kills his presidency.

Some may scoff at this idea, but consider how these actions, all taken in the interest of his buddies on Wall Street, harm families who live on Main Street:

  • Net neutrality may seem like an arcane issue, but FCC Chair Ajit Pai ‘s decision to roll back Obama-era internet rules will inevitably lead to increased costs for internet access.
  • Betsy Devos, the clueless Secretary of Education, is repealing rules that made it difficult for private universities to rip-off students and making it more expensive for kids and parents to repay student loans.
  • Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who was installed as director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), has submitted a “zero budget” for the agency he absolutely loathes, and instituted a hiring freeze and a prohibition on new regulations.  Just for good measure, he’s also decided to make it easier for the vultures in the payday lending industry to prey on the poor and the working class.
  • The Labor Department’s decision to allow pool-tipping and to ditch rules that would have made hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers eligible for overtime pay will cost working families millions of dollars each year.
  • The unrelenting attack on the Affordable Care Act, which survived repeal but has taken a number of other hits, will lead to premium increases and the loss of coverage in the years ahead.


How Dems Could Benefit from ‘Digital Precinct Captains’

In his Rewire post, “Digital Precinct Captains: A New Strategy for Democrats,” Jeff Hauser writes:

…By focusing less on the traditional advertising tools of the 20th century and more on the new digital organizing tools of the 21st, Democrats can have a true 50-state strategy without all the costs it used to entail.

One way to do this would be by identifying and supporting a team of thousands of “digital precinct captains” around the country who would be supported and organized by paid staff members. These highly motivated super volunteers would serve an organizing role between both ordinary voters and occasional activists and the formal political party itself.  They would seek to engage, serve, and mobilize voters—not just the party—and in doing so, Democrats could become an actual energized community whose leaders and members are perpetually talking to and learning from one another. Their success would be based on engagement, not fundraising.

The idea, in the words of the article’s subtitle, is “move the Democratic Party much closer to being a meaningful organization instead of a mere ballot label.” Hauser adds that “The rise of Indivisible and countless other #Resistance groups have revealed an unprecedented interest in political activism and the power digital organizing tools can wield.”

“Such activism within the Democratic Party itself would increase the people power available to candidates who inspire communities,” argues Hauser. “From incubating voter registration drives to promoting a community picnic, captains would choose the activities that their communities desire while also communicating with the tools that best speak to those communities.”

Untilnow, says Hauser, “digital strategy has essentially been used as a different way to raise money. Everyone’s gotten those emails (probably too many of them) asking if you “can chip in just $5” for a given occasion…That means that the party’s digital strategy has largely been a one-way street: send out a message and judge its success by the dollars it generated.”

Hauser believes the digital precinct captains “would engage a broad swath of voters and ensure a meaningful and consistent point of contact with the Democratic Party.” It would provide “the tools they need to engage and organize throughout the year while informing the party how politics is happening at the most granular level.”

Another benefit would be that the digital precinct capatains could organize by geography, neglected constituencies, “like the parents of kids with disabilities or senior citizens in nursing homes,” or issues, or a combination of those factors.

Digital precincts “could create an enduring semi-decentralized digital-oriented permanent campaign structure.” Utilizing tools like Facebook, Instagram and texting, “this structure would take advantage of the reduced costs of two-way communications between the federal party and grassroots outside the strictures of TV ads or mainstream media.”

Precinct captains once played a much larger role in Democratic politics, particularly in cities where population was concentrated. Neighborhood-level political groups still have an important role to play, but it would be political malpractice for Democrats not to leverage digital tools to strengthen the bonds between the national, state and local Democratic parties on the one hand, and the myriad grassroots groups now proliferating in the Resistance nationwide.


Top Dems Say Russians Still Trying to Influence U.S. Elections

At PowerPost, Karoun Demirjian, Josh Dawsey and Craig Timberg report that “Top Democrats on Tuesday called on Facebook and Twitter to investigate what lawmakers said are Russian efforts to promote the release of a classified Republican memo criticizing the FBI probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign.”Further, say the PowerPost writers,

Hashtags such as “#ReleaseTheMemo” have been trending on Twitter in recent days, and accounts affiliated with Russian influence efforts have been supporting this campaign, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a U.S.-based group that examines efforts by Russia and other nations to interfere in democratic institutions.

“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process,” said a letter to Facebook and Twitter from Rep. Adam B. Schiff and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats from California who are the top members of their party on the House Intelligence Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively.

The revelations won’t come as a jaw-dropper to anyone who has been paying attention to Putin’s doings in recent years. The notion that Russian meddling in U.S. presidential elections was a one-time project, never to be again repeated makes no sense, considering Putin’s aggressive approach to international relations and his commitment to leveraging Russia’s intelligence resources to the fullest.

Democrats, however, have dismissed the Republican campaign to publish the memo as a bid to undermine a legitimate law enforcement investigation into Trump’s campaign and transition. Democrats also have said that releasing information in the memo would amount to a break from past practice in the handling of classified material.

…In alleging involvement by Russian trolls and bots, Schiff and Feinstein cite the Alliance for Securing Democracy, part of the German Marshall Fund. The group hosts on its website a dashboard that tracks roughly 600 accounts that the group says echo or otherwise support Russian influence efforts, though in some cases this is done unwittingly, according to information posted on the site.

…“This should be disconcerting to all Americans, but especially your companies as, once again, it appears the vast majority of their efforts are concentrated on your platforms,” Schiff and Feinstein wrote. “This latest example of Russian interference is in keeping with Moscow’s concerted, covert, and continuing campaign to manipulate American public opinion and erode trust in our law enforcement and intelligence institutions.”

You can read the rest of the story here.